Ms. Suggs didn’t deliver this line like a business owner, she delivered it like a proud American, and with a conviction that I will not soon forget. The sparkle in her eye tells a story words cannot, one of success through perseverance, a story Deirdre knows well.
At one point in her business life Deirdre realized she could not keep up with the demand, both of her time and her body. She knew she had a hard decision to make, but she didn’t let that stop her.
She decided to take a sabbatical and come back later to rebuild a company she had already spent years building, knowing it would mean starting over.
And rebuild she has, Deirdre has built Signature Events & Associates into a thriving event planning business, offering beautiful events with a highly personalized approach that will leave you amazed and thrilled.
Ready to meet a woman unafraid to take the road less traveled? Click through to this week’s #Business #Success Story.
What are three words that best describe you?
Encourager, passionate, and just fun.
What motivates you to succeed?
My family legacy. My past, my present and just knowing what I want for my children and theirs.
What habits help keep you successful?
I’m committed to make sure I accomplish 3 things everyday in my life. I do something personal first, then I do something for my business, and last I do something that will add value to my life. If I do those 3 things every day I know my life is progressing forward.
How have you developed key Partnerships?
I began developing business relationships with people who were building their business and brand at the same time. I found their value and gave them exposure, helping them grow.
[pullquote]If you say something do it, even if it hurts.[/pullquote]
What is one thing you find true that other people may disagree with?
Swear to your own hurt. If you say something do it, even if it hurts. Your word is your bond.
How did you make your first sale?
I made my first entrepreneurial sale at age twelve. I got a carnival package and sold little trinkets and pencils. I did carnival stuff twice that summer; that did it for me.
What was the major turning point for your company where it became profitable?
It has been profitable from day one, I never had a time that it wasn’t. It doesn’t matter if there is a recession, people are still going to have a birthday, wedding or chamber event.
[pullquote] You can’t get caught up in your losses.[/pullquote]
How do you overcome moments of doubt that stop most entrepreneurs from becoming successful?
I believe if you have ever had it you can always have it again. If you were ever a real entrepreneur ideas will just flow. You can’t get caught up in your losses. You have to be self motivated. I am clear about why I want to continue to move forward.
How do you identify business opportunities and how do you determine what’s worth your time?
Most business opportunities fit into my core values of my business. My job is to add value and to accomplish someone else’s vision from concept to full manifestation.
How do you define success in business?
To me success is doing what you have been gifted to do. Whatever takes the least amount of effort and you would do even if you didn’t get paid.
How have you achieved it with your company?
I absolutely love this and really believe it has been a calling, not just a gift.
What do you most attribute your company success?
Basically just seeing referrals from people I don’t advertise with. Most of my clients have come from word of mouth.
What would you say are 3 to 5 key elements to running a successful business?
People, people, people. If you value your people, who they are and what they are able to do, then you are able to value their response after you are done. You can have a great product, but if you’re not a people person you are not going to have success. I know people have certain visions and I value what they are.
What do you think contributes the most to a company’s long-term success?
Having a clear vision of where you are going to be in 10-20 years. If you can’t see that you have no future.
How important have your employees been to your success?
Very important. I believe employees or vendors who have great personalities and attitudes about their product and services are key to having good employees.
How do you find people to bring on as employees that cares for the organization the way you do?
I interview companies that are connected, word of mouth referrals and sometimes I meet people on site. I can see their work, I choose vendors that are already doing great service.
How do you motivate employees to stay with your company?
I encourage them to own their own business so I can sub contract them out. They don’t have to stay with me, they can develop their own model. They stay as a preferred vendor.
What is your most effective form of marketing?
Putting unique boutique events together through word of mouth at the chamber. We do some with our promotional items like flyers, Facebook and revamping the marketing on our site.
[pullquote] I did one in a magazine and I don’t think I got 1 hit.[/pullquote]
Tell me about a time when your marketing failed to meet your expectations.
We held an event that was announced by spreads in 2 or 3 newspapers those were the most ineffective to be honest. I did one in a magazine and I don’t think I got 1 hit.
What has your company growth been like for the past year?
We are doing a lot of different weddings, vow renewals and destination weddings. I am scheduled a long way out till November.
What do you think is responsible for this rate of growth?
Restructuring the business to encompass about 30 companies, that is huge for me. I was just randomly helping but now I am intentionally building.
What has been your most effective method for acquiring new clients?
I haven’t really gotten a lot of new clients. I have so much repeat business I had to weed out some. I have projected clients coming for our end of year target market.
What has been your biggest business mistake?
Allowing a few clients out of their 30 day out agreements. My vendors have to be paid 14 days out and if I don’t get it I have to come out of my pocket. I lost a lot doing that so I won’t break that model any more.
How did you handle it and what was your biggest takeaway?
By letting it go and learning to stay focused on that budget.
What has been your biggest success and how did you contribute to it?
My biggest success was working with an advanced event group. I was exposed to a lot of awesome clients. We did and entire event on new year’s eve, I had a team of 100 people. My biggest joy was to see my team come together and get everything done on time.
What is something you want people to know about your company that they don’t already?
We are a company that enjoys taking the client’s vision and making it a memorable event.
If you could travel back to the first day of this company and have 15 minutes with your younger self what advice would you give?
I would tell myself to write your vision plain so anyone who reads it knows what you are trying to do and where you are going. A business plan just tells you a lot of stuff like the name of your company it doesn’t tell you how you are going to get there. You need to have in sight what it will look like in 1 year; in 5 years.
As always, I would like to thank Ms. Suggs for taking the time to visit with me. If you would like more information about her or her company Signature Events & Associates, please visit them on Fb.com/SignatureEventsAssociatesLLC, or call Deirdre Suggs directly at 470-240-8000.